KANSAS CITY -- Kurt Suzuki got a day off from working behind the plate on Saturday, but he was still in the lineup as the designated hitter.
"He's 5-for-13 against [Royals starter Bruce Chen]," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said after announcing his lineup.
Suzuki rewarded his manager's trust with a big offensive day -- going 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs against Chen. Nevertheless, the Twins dropped a 5-4 decision to the Royals.
Gardenhire doesn't feel the need to give Suzuki, 30, an abundance of complete days off.
"He's the first guy to walk into the clubhouse and say, 'Game on, I'm good to catch,'" Gardenhire said. "I want the kid [Josmil Pinto] to catch today, but Suzuki can catch a day game after a night game, and you don't have to worry about Suzuki. He comes to play every day."
Suzuki was employed as the DH for the first time since May 15, 2011. The fourth-inning solo homer was his first as a DH.
"It was a changeup," Suzuki said. "I had popped up the same pitch earlier with the bases loaded."
Bartlett set to end comeback bid with Twins
KANSAS CITY -- The timing isn't right for Jason Bartlett to immediately go from playing to instructing, but Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony can envision a day when Bartlett becomes a coach in professional baseball.
The veteran shortstop has informed Minnesota of his intention to retire and the paperwork is expected to be completed early next week so that Bartlett can make an official announcement. If Bartlett should decide that he would like to work with players down the road, Antony believes Bartlett would be an organizational asset.
"I think he would be a good coach some day," Antony said. "He has expressed interest in that."
Bartlett, 34, was attempting a comeback this season after sitting out all of 2013. He was about to begin a rehab assignment for Class A Advanced Fort Myers when word came that Bartlett wanted to step away from the game.
"He doesn't have that little drive he needs to get back in it," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
The Twins will gain a spot on the 40-man roster with Bartlett's retirement.
Gardy believes pitching staff will turn corner
KANSAS CITY -- The Twins entered Saturday's 5-4 loss to the Royals with a 5.04 team ERA. Only the White Sox had a worse ERA among American League clubs, but manager Ron Gardenhire remains confident his pitching staff will find its groove over the long haul.
"We've got good pitchers," Gardenhire said. "We know these guys have a track record. [Kyle] Gibson has stepped up and pitched well. The others have been a little inconsistent. [Mike] Pelfrey has got to get better. [Ricky] Nolasco is going to be fine and we think Phil Hughes is going to be fine. Kevin Correia obviously is a good pitcher. We think we have guys who can deliver. Now it's just a matter of getting it done on a consistent basis.
"We've been through some pretty brutal weather. Hopefully, they'll step up. We believe in them."
If Pelfrey finds his rhythm, it would be a big boost for the starting rotation. Pelfrey has a 7.98 ERA through three starts.
"Let's give him a chance," Gardenhire said. "We signed him for a reason. The guy is healthy. Right now, he's fighting it mentally. I know he's a veteran, but this game can really eat at you. We just have to give him a chance to regroup."
Pelfrey has issued 12 walks with only seven strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings.
"He has to throw the ball over," Gardenhire said. "His arm is fine. His stuff is fine. He's just not throwing it over enough and has to get better at it. We'll see."
Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.